Nowy Port is a residential and harbour district, located in the northern part of the city. Separated from the rest of the city with industrial sites and green areas. Prosperous in the past, today it resonates with emptiness. Once a significant port area, the neighbourhood has faced decline for the last two decades. Similarly to other neighbourhoods in the network, also this district is bordering with waterfront, but not able to access it due to the industry. The neighbourhood is manifesting the prosperous past in the architecture, but now is very let down. The connection to the city centre is rather slow, which makes the area and its inhabitants seem as outsiders. Entering the area, one is greeted with a wall mural saying “Nowy Bronx” as the inhabitants are embracing the “rough” reputation of the area. There is even a short movie made called “Nowy Bronx”, following the life of teenagers living in the area. Several precious buildings are let down and stand empty and there is a sense, that “time has stopped here”.
There are 10,684 inhabitants. It has a bad reputation which stems from fact the the first anti – communist strike took place. More recently, its isolated location and high unemployment rate contributed to this bad reputation. Moreover, many people deal with domestic violence, social negligence and drug abuse.
One of the most crucial problems is the very low employment rate. The concentration of public housing creates social segregation. The culture of littering and vandalism as well as public drinking is creating a vicious cycle. The authorities do not investing enough in the properties and public space since they get vandalised and littered. Thus, creating a feeling of “abandonment” in the eyes of the local inhabitants. In some cases, the streets and courtyards are without electricity, but simultaneously the bus stop can get vandalised in search for precious metals. Children are raised in an environment where it is acceptable to throw trash on the street. There is a sense of distrust to the authorities.
Visions and aims:
The local NGO and cultural scene is growing and energetic. The aim is to activate the social imagination and turn it into a long-term engagement process. The outside image is already changing a lot, there are more visitors coming to the area. The local inhabitants would like to emphasise, that it is a good place to live and take a breath from the city life, with less noise and pollution. This area is also in a process of regeneration and it is crucial that the local inhabitants are involved in the process. If not, they will not feel the sense of ownership.
Cultural planning approach:
The contemporary art centre, Laznia, has a center located in the centre of Nowy Port. The Danish artist, Grete Aagaard, residing in the Laznia centre, has started a newspaper “New Port lives”. The newspaper serves as a catalyst for social change and discussion. Furthermore, there is a great network between the local art institutes, which support each other. Likewise, City Culture Institute is present with different kind of events, and local activists do guided tours around the city.